Twenty Dollars Got My Middle Fingers Rise Up

I got my middle fingers up because according to the majority of the supposedly most honorable men and women in my country (the Philippines), the cost of keeping and upholding human rights for the next year is worth one thousand pesos (which is equivalent to US$20).  This rubbish decision by Philippine Congress is amidst the pandemic extra judicial killings that is going on in my country.

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I have been silent and have been suppressing my feelings of disgust towards how my country is now being run.  There is nothing to be proud of and nothing to celebrate about this dimwit decision.  Actually, this decision by the sloppy Philippine Congress is nothing but shameful!  #GiveMyTaxToCHR

Nakakalungkot at nakakahiya.

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Nengkoy’s First Hostel Experience

Nengkoy (my mother) is used to check-in a 5-star hotel or resort every time she goes on a domestic vacation.  Because of budget constraints and weak Philippine peso, it is the downgraded to 4 or 3-star hotels during international travels.  However, in Nengkoy’s recent international trip her accommodation experience was further downgraded from a hotel to a hostel!

I am the culprit.  It is because I am the one who booked and reserved a tiny room for three at A Dot Homestay via Booking.com.

Upon clearance from the immigration and retrieval of our luggage at Taoyuan International Airport, I Nengkoy and my sister proceeded to the nearest airport transport service.  We booked a return exclusive luxury car service that will drive us to our hostel and pick us up to bring us back to the airport on our last day’s stay.  The driver was quite surprised upon finding out that we have to be dropped not to a luxurious hotel but instead to an ordinary building where our hostel was located.

a dot homestay taipei

common area (dining & kitchenette) where guests converge and make “chika

a dot homestay

the bathroom, the laundry area and the sleeping quarters

nengkoy at a dot homestay

spot nengkoy (btw, those drawers under the bed are digital-lock capable as if its a safe or a vault)

Actually, upon alighting the luxurious car, I never noticed where A Dot Homestay was located for there was no signage.  Upon noticing that I seem to look confused, the driver was kind enough to point to us the building and entrance gate were the address of our hostel was.  Shockingly, there was no reception desk where to transact our check-in.  Instead, we proceeded to the 5th floor of the building, were asked to take off our shoes and was led to a dining table where we settled our payment and where the crew issued us our electronic keys to our room.

Nengkoy and my sister then told me after we have settled inside our room that both of them were already contemplating of pushing me to transfer to a legit hotel.  It was obviously their first time to be in such a type of a lodging.  They were not used to a guesthouse without a front desk, a concierge and an elegant chandelier in a lobby.

I have no intention of under estimating this hostel.  It is because I, my sister and Nengkoy were quite impressed by the facilities, cleanliness and offerings of A Dot Homestay.  After our first night, we easily adjusted and came to appreciate this cozy and comfortable establishment.

A Dot Homestay basically grew in us.  Maybe it is because it offers remarkable facilities (comfy bed with fresh and spotless linens, clean and big common/shared toilet & shower rooms, a free-to-use washer and dryer, very fast internet connection, hot, warm and cold drinking water, a fridge that all guests can use and even a kitchenette if guests wish to cook their food).  They even offer us to eat and try the free snacks placed and made available at the main table.

But aside from all these pleasant and amazing features, there are two things that I like most about A Dot Homestay.  First is the warm, gracious and well-mannered staffs.  All their staffs whom I encountered can speak English (Sarah, one of the staffs, according to her actually studied English here in the Philippines for 3 months) and everybody were so genial and are so willing to assist so as to make sure that we enjoy our visit to Taipei.  They can even give you tips on where to dine and where to go to.

Second is the location.  A Dot Homestay is literally just a couple of steps away from Exit 3 of Daan Station.  The nearness of the train station is one of my main considerations why I chose and booked A Dot Homestay.  I know that Taipei weather is like Manila weather.  It is hot, boiling and very humid.  Thus, it would be too difficult to walk on the streets so as to reach the station if the hotel would be too far a distance.  I was also glad to have chosen this lodging establishment because I am with Nengkoy and my often-complaining sister who hates to walk under a blistering climate.  Thus, the location of A Dot Homestay is just perfection!

nengkoy & ate gaying at daan train station

nengkoy and my sister at the stairs of daan station

taipei morning

the view just outside the hostel…

Thanks to A Dot Homestay!  It is because this establishment made Nengkoy’s first hostel experience a very pleasant and remarkable one.

Oh and by the way, on our last day, it was a different driver who picked us up and drove us to the airport for us to catch our flight back to Manila.  He was driving a Mercedes Benz.  It was so noticeable that the driver was puzzled and bamboozled why we were not picked from a luxurious hotel but instead by the bustling Xinyi Road in front of an ordinary-looking building.

Kaimpres impernes…

Major Major Major

Strange yet true, the Filipino language is one of the unique languages on the planet that duplicates the same syllables so as to produce a word or a name.  I am so used to knowing a person with the following appelations: Cheche, Ging Ging, Gly Gly, Ton Ton, Lotlot and Jon Jon.  And I am not a bit surprise to hear and use these Filipino words: hakahaka (speculation), singsing (ring), guniguni (hallucinations), gabigabi (nightly) bubukaka (will spread the legs widely) or lokoloko (loony).

Looney_1

this post is like this, baliwbaliwan at ang saya-saya!

Other Filipino duplicated-syllable words that I don’t intend to translate are pekpek, titi, kiki and bulbul! For those people who don’t speak the Filipino language you would just have to google the translation.  While for the Filipinos, I’m pretty sure they are now laughing out loud while reading this.

From my readings, one reason why my Filipino language is so used to duplicating syllables to create a meaningful word is because Filipino language as a whole seem to be composed of only simple and uncomplicated phonologies.  Also, my Filipino language lacks the composition of 3-lettered consonant clusters (like using str or psy in the beginning of a word and the use of gth or rch to end a word) to make it somewhat complicated.  Because of these limitations and to compensate so as to broaden the language, Filipinos unconsciously decided to duplicate simple utter-able syllables so as to create different words and meanings.

Filipinos are so accustomed to duplicating syllables as words it unconsciously spills out from our train of thought when we even speak the English language. Remember Ms. Philippines (Venus Raj) during the final Q&A round of the Ms. Universe pageant who replied that she never had any “major major” problem that she has done in her life during the 21 years of her existence.  This was a top trending topic then in the twitter world during that time.

I myself would sometime unintentionally utter doubled/repeated English words as if I am suffering from palilalia especially when I am so so very very happy!

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smiling though i am so na-wiwi-wiwi-na!

But what is even more strange is that Filipino language does not only duplicate syllables, it even triplicates it so as to even relay a different meaning for such usage of syllables.  Filipino words with triplicated syllables are actually words in future tense form.  Take these as examples:

  • Lalala (will worsen)
  • Dadada (going to spread a word or spill the beans)
  • Bababa (will descend)
  • Nanana (going to develop into a pus)
  • Papapa (will eat)
  • Yayaya (will invite)
  • Dododo (will suck from a nipple of a baby bottle)
  • Pupupu (gonna defecate)
  • Wiwiwi (gonna urinate)
  • Nganganga (will wide open a person’s mouth)

I was about to type hahaha which means laughing out loud! Hahaha!

Kakaloka!

I Think I Love Taipei

People in New York are called New Yorkers while folks in Rio De Jainero are known as Cariocas. Here in Manila we are called Manileños while those in Sydney are called Sydneysiders.  Residents of Paris are called Parisians while those born and raised in Tokyo are called Edokko.

But what about the people in Taipei?  How do they call themselves as a people?  I know that Taipei is located in Taiwan and its people are known as Taiwanese.  But what about the specific state of Taipei? What is their demonym?  Strangely, even google doesn’t seem to have an answer.

taipei 101 a

iconic tower!

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super fun

neil, ngkoy & gaying at cks 2017

with nengkoy  and sister

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nengkoy with the cks guard

But no matter what the world would call their citizens, one thing is for sure, I was very impressed by the Taipei people’s character.  Prior to visiting Taipei, I plucked and gathered a lot of tolerance and courage from my garden of compassion so as to bring it with me in Taipei.  It is because I thought that the people of Taipei were the same and as typical as that of their mainland counterpart.  But my encounters with their locals were so surprising all positive.  They were unexpectedly polite, well-mannered and very helpful.

And aside from the people, the food and character, their city was surprisingly clean, modern and very organized.  It’s a friendly city for a non-Chinese speaking person like me.  Their hero (Chang Kai Shek), who paved the way for the molding of Taipei character, democracy and economic development was even someone to be proud of.

neil, ngkoy & gaying at taipei train

groupie inside a quiet train

neil at cks 2017

strike a pose!

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hello taipei

neil at taipei 2017 a

yeba!

May they be termed Taipeinese, Taipei-siders, Taipeian or other names, Taipei people were surprisingly impressive!  I think I love Taipei.

Ay lab Taypey!

 

A Fruity Twisted My Brain

I was not longing for Ruby Roman Grapes, the most expensive grapes in the world.  I was never looking for Ackee, one of the rarest fruits on the planet.  And not once did I crave for Cherimoya which according to Mark Twain is the most delicious fruit known to men.

I was only yearning to try a Miracle Berry and experience for myself the magic and oddity it does to my taste buds.

twisted!

And this yearning has finally been resolved when Chef Clark Soliman, a co-employee, learned about my hankering.  He’s got a Miracle Berry plant in his backyard in Pampanga.  Chef Clark when he visited my office actually gave me a handful of this amazing berry.

I right away tested it.  I ordered the nearest restaurant from my office to deliver me a chopped calamansi (a very sour citrus fruit abundant here in the Philippines).  I munched into the miracle berry as soon as my chopped calamansi has been delivered.  And after a couple of minutes, I was supping, lapping and sucking on what supposed to be the sourest citrus fruit on the planet.  But my discernment was different, my taste buds were telling me that I was supping on the sweetest and most delicious honey orange in the universe!

from notorious sourness to heavenly sweetness


Miracle Berry indeed tricked and deceived my precious taste buds!  I never knew that my brain could further be twisted by such a mere fruit.  It’s fun! Find one and be twisted by the effect of Miracle Berry.
Tikman nyo! Kaaliw!

Chilin at Shilin Night Market

Taipei, Taiwan based on travel blogs seem not in the top list of places to go to on the planet.  But I along with Nengkoy and elder sister Ester nevertheless adventured into seeing what Taipei has to offer.  Actually, yesterday we were back to Manila and actually just arrived from Taipei.  And before the lazy bug bit me, let me showcase an awesome experience while we were there.

taipei morning

a beautiful taipei morning

Night markets in Taipei are quite popular.  Shilin Night Market located near Jiantan train station is considered the largest is actually the most popular among tourists.  This is the night market that Nengkoy, I and my sister chose to chill at and visit during a very short stay in Taipei.

Shilin Night Market is known to offer various food and nonfood items.  Aside from a couple of cool t-shirts I purchased, I got to try two amazing stuffs at this lively, brazen and well-admired night market.

The Ampaet Drink

First, I got to try the white bitter gourd juice.  Bitter gourd is known as Ampalaya in the Philippines.  Here in my country, Ampalaya is green in color and never used as a juice drink flavor.  Because of its bitter taste, it is one of my most hated vegetables.

white bitter gourd display

inviting ampalaya display!

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this drink is so me!

But in Taiwan, they got a white/albino variety and they use it for a refreshing juice drink.  Upon learning that such is mixed in a cold drink, it got me curious.  I even thought that the albino variety would be a redeeming version of the green-colored variety.  I was expected that it would be sweet to the taste.   So as to end my pondering, I ordered a tall glass.

As for the taste, it was a disappointing bitter taste same as the green version.  And same as the green variety, I hated the white kind.  It was not my type! Ampaet! (Translation: so bitter!)  But as a consolation, I nevertheless will no longer have to brood over on what the taste was of such a rare drink when I get back to Manila.  To get rid of the bitter after taste, I, Nengkoy and my sister decided to gulp on a very cold bottle of pure and freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, which is also a popular street drink in Taipei!

The Uncut Cutlet

Second, Shilin Night Market shall be for the record the place where I actually had the largest piece of chicken cutlet.  It was so big I thought it was an ostrich!

There was a long queue at store called Hot Star.  I actually don’t know what people were queuing up for.  And since the line is very long, I assume the food stuff that store was selling must be amazing.  I just decided to fall in line and only got to realize that it was a humongous filleted chicken cutlet that was being sold when I was already paying for it.

hot star chicken queue!

hot star: the chicken that sells like hotcake!

hot star chicken cutlet

that piece of chicken is even bigger that the face of its seller

hot star chicken and neil

enjoying my humongous piece of chicken

Hot Star chicken cutlet was surprisingly very good and very tasty!  The chicken meat is evenly coated with a crunchy deep fried golden brown batter.  Before the ginormous cutlet was handed over to me upon payment, it was sprinkled with flavoring powder which I believe (based on the whispers of my taste buds) is composed of white pepper, sea salt and special spices.  This chicken cutlet was surprisingly tender and juicy.  It was so ginormous I shared it with Nengkoy!

These are just two of the million or more possible stuffs that people can try when they visit the vibrant Shilin Night Market.  There is a cornucopia of stuffs that visitors can taste when they chill at this amazing night market.  Try visit sometime and prove to yourself that Taipei is actually worth a visit!

 Kakaiba ka Shilin!